In case you don’t know him, Yogi Bear isn’t a yogi (Buddhist meditator or of the like). He’s quite the opposite — totally unmeditative! He is a bear but not just any bear. As he would often define of himself, he is ‘smarter than the average bear’. Smarter, yes, but not very wise! Often hungry (or greedy), he enthusiastically devises one contraption after another to pic-a-nic picnic baskets. His plans mostly backfire, but he is ever optimistic, though he constantly overestimates himself and hardly learns from his mistakes! As he quipped, you only fail when you stop trying. True, but if you keep trying to accomplish what’s not worthy, it’s already a failure from the start, and even if you do succeed!
Boo-boo, the small bear, is Yogi’s friend and sidekick. He represents greater caution and mindfulness in contrast, and struggles to keep the bumbling Yogi in check when his mischief spins out of control. In a sense, he acts as Yogi’s conscience. If so, his tinier size does seem to reflect how Yogi’s free-and-easy devil-may-care attitude easily overwhelms his own conscience! Being a flick for kids and fans, the story delivers a good educational message of course — of how even the misadventuring Yogi and company can do good to save Jellystone Park from certain annihilation by the politically correct (read: dirty and immoral) machinery of greed.
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, Jellystone Park might be closed, with its trees chopped and the land sold off as the corrupted mayor prefers more money over welfare of the environment. Not only was Yogi and Boo-boo’s home endangered, they soon realise that a rare turtle thought extinct who lives in the park is endangered too. Thankfully, there is a law that any habitat with an endangered animal has to be preserved. Thus began the jostling for the turtle to prove or silent his existence. Seeing the duo join forces with Ranger Smith to save the day, it struck me that such a responsible ranger who goes all out might be endangered too – if we have lost the good ranger within us. Come to think of it, the two bears who can talk are surely endangered animals too!
Like Winnie the Pooh, Yogi Bear doesn’t wears pants! While Winnie dons a shirt, Yogi has a collar, tie and hat! Which is more (un)natural? Talking or funnily dressed bears? While Winnie steals honey from bees, Yogi steals picnics from humans. Arguably, Winnie is more natural! What about us humans? We are thieves too, when we steal from and destroy nature. And this is super unnatural because the rate at which this is done has already caused the current climate crisis. While Yogi’s simple inventions for stealing baskets are amusing, humans create monstrous machines that are the extensions of insatiable greed. Not funny at all. If we think broader, every one of us, human or animal is now endangered! The fictional Jellystone really represents the whole of Earth!